Three groups representing the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment were selected to participate in President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Parade on January 21, 2013.
- 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Company B out of Silver Spring, Maryland, made up of civilian re-enactment personnel in Civil War-period uniforms that keep alive the legacy of the unit through living history displays, educational briefings to the general public and Civil War period encampments and re-enactments.
- 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Company A out of Boston, Massachusetts, made up of civilian re-enactment personnel in Civil War-period uniforms that keep alive the legacy of the unit through living history displays, educational briefings to the general public and Civil War period encampments and re-enactments.
- 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment out of Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, which was reactivated on November 21, 2008 to serve as the Massachusetts National Guard ceremonial unit to render military honors at funerals and state functions. The new unit is now known as the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment.
The parade is organized by the Joint Task Force-Armed Forces Inaugural Committee, with participants chosen by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Participants almost always include military regiments, veterans’ organizations, marching bands, dance companies, and floats sponsored by citizen groups.
The groups chosen “reflect the spirit, values and diversity of our great nation,’’ Mr. Obama said in a news release announcing the selections, adding that he and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “are honored to have them join us in the parade.” More than 2,800 online applications were submitted to the task force that organized the parade — more than double the nearly 1,400 organizations that applied to take part in Mr. Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.
The inaugural parade route ran along Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. from the U.S. Capitol, ending at the north face of the White House. During most of the parade, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled in the armored limousine. The President and First Lady exited their limousine, walking on Pennsylvania Avenue for portions of the parade. Vice President Biden, and his wife Jill, also walked the parade route.
The Second Inauguration of Barack Obama
The second inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States took place in a private swearing-in ceremony on Sunday, January 20, 2013 in the Blue Room of the White House. A public ceremony marking the occasion took place on Monday, January 21, 2013 at the United States Capitol building. The inauguration marked the beginning of the second term of Barack Obama as President and Joe Biden as Vice President.
The inauguration theme was “Faith in America’s Future”, a phrase that draws upon the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and the completion of the Capitol dome in 1863. The theme also stresses the “perseverance and unity” of the United States, and echoes the “Forward” theme used in the closing months of Obama’s reelection campaign. The inaugural events held in Washington, D.C. from January 19 to 21, 2013 included concerts, a national day of community service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the swearing-in ceremony, luncheon and parade, inaugural balls, and the interfaith inaugural prayer service. The presidential oath was administered to Obama during his swearing-in ceremony on January 20 and 21, 2013 by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts.
In his second inauguration speech, Obama proclaimed that “while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth”. He called for laws to combat climate change, enactment of immigration reform and gun control. Obama stated that more progress was needed on human rights and civil rights (including racial minority rights, women’s rights, and LGBT rights) and vowed to promote democracy abroad, and stated that the United States must “be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice” around the world. Additionally, the president vowed to keep existing alliances strong, emphasized the economic recovery and the end of wars, and stated that “no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation”. The inauguration was attended by approximately one million people, and watched by millions more around the world.
During the speech, Obama linked the Seneca Falls Convention, Selma to Montgomery marches and Stonewall riots. Barack Obama used the opening words of the U.S. Constitution’s preamble “We, the people” to suggest how to reconcile America’s founding truths and the current discord and dysfunction of its embittered political system. He also referenced America’s Declaration of Independence stating that our inalienable rights, such as Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, may be self-evident, but never have been self-executing. Obama again invoked the Declaration of Independence by telling his audience: “What makes us exceptional, what makes us America, is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
Obama went on, saying “all of us are created equal” and that the shared equality of the American people guided the United States “through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall”—linking the Seneca Falls Convention, Selma to Montgomery marches and Stonewall riots as key moments in women’s rights activism, and the African-American civil rights movement together.